You shouldn’t play with knives. I wish that I could write that without having a slight smile on my face-I am very excited right now! I have been looking for a particular addition to my kitchen for quite some time now. Unfortunately, all of my discoveries of the existence of this particular item have been paired with the discovery that my budget is not sufficient for the acquisition. Many of you are likely assuming that I am talking about a particularly unique and useful knife-I am not. I am talking about teaching a man to fish-except your not teaching a man to fish, your teaching a knife to…well-to cut things. I have finally, after searching for the last eight months, been able to find a sharpening stone for my knives-never been used, making its appearance in the housewares department of my thrift store. $5.00!
For those of you who are blessed to live in an area of the world where sharpening stones are still a common household item-I envy you, while taking solace in the fact that areas such as this still exist in this world of easy-bake ovens. I have looked in every store that I could think of. I have scoured kitchen stores and cooking stores, as well as hardware and department stores-nothing. After inquiring after my desired sharpening stone from a few smartly uniformed elderly staff-members, I began to recognize a trend. Many of the staff whom I questioned that had a few years of service under their belts responded by informing me that, while the product had been commonly sold a few or number of years ago, it is no longer being offered due to lack of interest. In other words, people are buying those “easy sharpen” products that are very easy to use, but never work. After suffering through using blunt and dull knives that had been rolled around those silly sharpening tools for hours, I decided that I had to return to the basics. The problem is, apparently I am a minority in this desire. But, my search has born fruit-congratulate me!
So, what are my thoughts now that I have finally been successful? Plain and simple-it works. After watching an excellent video on how to use a sharpening stone (see below), I was able to successfully return my knives to their former glory.
I should mention that my knives never truly had a “glory” stage, as they are kitchenware knives. I wanted to learn how to utilize a sharpening stone with knives that would not render me inconsolable if I happened to fail in my attempts. Regardless, although I have not mastered the craft, I believe I am on the right track. It is also much simpler than I had feared. Furthermore, the pleasure that I receive from performing the activity of sharpening my knives is much greater than I had anticipated.
There is something primal and delicious about scrapping a knife along the stone, giving slight pressure and hearing the ring as the knife slides off the side. You begin to develop a rhythm, and you feel the knife and understand it in ways that had eluded you in the past. In a way, the knife becomes yours-it is no longer an object that you purchased from a store and simply use for your own purposes-you are sculpting and crafting it yourself. It is your tool for the craft of culinary delights. When I use my knives and feel them slice effortlessly through the skin of a vegetable, or give a clean cut of prime rib, I can enjoy the sensation of knowing that such efficiency is as a result of my labours. All of this is to say-long live the sharpening stone!
I should mention to those of you who do not know-a sharpening rod does not sharpen knives. It is used to maintain a knife, and realign the edge. If you are frustrated because your knife is dull, despite frequent use of the rod-this is the reason. The solution: get a sharpening stone!
Do any of you use a sharpening stone? Or do you use the newer version? Would you consider switching to the traditional way of maintaining an edge? Let me know what you think!